sneak peek: judith de graaff


A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a Paris café with Dutch graphic designer Judith de Graaff and talking about Paris living. While she’s been in France for 10 years now, she moved out of the city center to get the best of both worlds: easy access to Paris, yet far more space than one could ever find in the city. And when she was talking about having more space, she wasn’t kidding. She, her husband and three cats live in a huge 550m2 industrial building. The building is from the 60s, and Judith and her husband completely renovated the place. They both work from home, and her husband is a professional therapist, so having a special place that mixes their love of contemporary, designer, industrial and playful is really important to them. For more of Judith’s space, check out the “magazine” she photographed and designed to further show off her home! Thanks, Judith! — Anne

Image above: Our living room faces north, so we tried to enhance luminosity with the use of lots of yellow and white. The lantern-shape lighting is by Ilka Plast, and at night, the soft light creates a warm glow all across the room. The furniture is a mix of vintage classics, thrift finds and modern retail. We love (and own lots of) books, so we created a big library, which also improves the acoustics of the room.

Image above: It was love at first sight when we saw the building on a Sunday walk along the river. An iconic yet abandoned office building and laboratory of a chemical factory, it was designed by French architect Claude André in the early 60s with lots of steel, concrete and huge glass windows. Water, electricity and heating needed a complete overhaul, but we saw the amazing potential and decided to buy. It has been tough (extremely cold winters without heating, frozen plumbing) and lots of work. We did everything ourselves, but [it was] so worth it! It has become a cosy and spacious home and office with lots of charming details.

Click here for more of Judith’s fabulous home!

Image above: The monumental suspended stairway is a true work of art. It was created using reinforced concrete poured in a form, finished with polished marble steps and a brass railing. It is a marvel of engineering and design, seemingly floating, supported by three central columns.

Image above: The former meeting room of the factory became our main living room. It overlooks the river and millennial forest on the other side of the river. Every day, transport ships, rowing boats and swans go by while we work, read books or magazines, or have dinner parties.

Image above: The cinema is where we have intimate dinners and where we watch television and movies. Somehow we collected plenty of red objects over the years, and they all live together in this room. The steel emergency stretcher case, which still contains the original (and very heavy!) canvas stretcher, was recovered from the factory.

Image above: Where is Waldo?

Image above: The small, functional office bathroom

Image above: With a house full of colors, we opted for an all-white master bedroom. Pure and clean and no distractions while we sleep. We hung a white plastic tabletop from the 70s on the wall above our bed. We like sleeping under the full moon.

Image above: This chair used to belong to my grandfather. It is a luxurious armchair made just after WWII by a local timber for 5 Dutch Guilders (3USD), quite a sum for those days. When I was young, my grandfather always sat in this chair in the kitchen, cutting apples for his grandchildren. In my teens, I painted the chair canary yellow over its original brown lacquered wood.

Image above: During the renovation of our house, we had a temporary kitchen in the former laboratory, which was very impractical as there was no water and only very little room to prepare meals. My husband, a true cordon bleu, loves to cook, so he really enjoys the luxury of a fully equipped kitchen. One of the best things is the panorama view over the garden.

Image above: This tea towel was a gift from Dutch friends. It was made in the national Textile Museum, which is definitely worth a visit if you ever go to the southern part of the Netherlands.

Image above: We love receiving guests and created a comfortable guestroom for them. The letters are original neons from the sixties that came from a former restaurant in our city. I am a big fan of nice typography and had my eyes on these neons for a few years. During the renovation of the restaurant, we saved the huge letters from destruction, and after a good cleaning, they make a nice wall decoration.

Image above: Our 3 cats (Walleed, Otta, Dwjareb) just love chilling on our red cinema chairs.

  1. rebecca says:

    Wow! I love the huge bright pops of colour in each room and the wall of books in the living room, the light here is just wonderful…x

  2. I love that bright yellow with the whites and neural colors. The red shelves with the legos and toys are super cute! Awww kitties! Look so comfy!!

  3. Oh my – the living room is so lovely, and the view is GORGEOUS! I don’t generally love just primary colors in a home, but they’ve done it so tastefully that in this home, I love it!

  4. Maggie says:

    I love the staircase, what a great idea with the pebbles!

  5. kristin says:

    i love all of the yellow in that room and those lights are amazing!

  6. That first photo – with the yellow – is a knock out! Then you see the view! WOW! AND close to Paris? Dreams can come true!

  7. Rachel Tatem says:

    It is really awesome how open it is!

  8. Wim de Graaff says:

    Prachtig! Mooie foto’s van nog mooiere kamers en ruimtes in dit ruime pand.

  9. Marty Ditmeyer says:

    Fantastic home–love how even the kitchen has a wonderful view. Wonderful recycling of a building.

  10. Riekske says:

    Werkelijk schitterend! We kenden het huis al natuurlijk, maar de foto’s zijn zo perfect! Geniet ervan!

  11. Well that AMAZING YELLOW was the wakeup I needed on a grey Monday morning :) Love it!! What a fab place!

  12. My favorite things about your home is the light too :)
    Beautiful space. I love all the yellow and I love the story behind the white chair. Grandpa’s who cut apples are the best.

  13. Paula says:

    Love this! I’ve often thought of doing the same thing to old commercial spaces. You have done a great job making it look homey.

  14. Tania says:

    Your home is so unique! Love your space and your sense of humor. I’ve been mulling over putting no smoking and deer crossing signage on my front porch so your loo sign made me smile. The staircase is absolutely beautiful

  15. Lauriz (The Argie) says:

    What a wonderful building! I can tell it was completly worth it the effort, just for the the privileged view from the Livingroom!!!!!!!!!

  16. Suz says:

    It almost looks like she said her favorite thing to do in the house is cocaine. I don’t know what cocoaning is.

  17. Suz, “cocooning” is a term the french use to describe staying cozy at home ;-)

  18. Anne D. says:

    Suz, I think it’s cocooning,as in being a homebody.

  19. Robert says:

    “Cocoaning” is either “having hot chocolate on a cold afternoon” or “writing the word cocooning in such a way that people read it as cocoaning”. Take your pick (multiple answers may apply ;-)

  20. Oh man, do I love this home! The yellow is fantastic.

  21. Steph says:

    This is giving me serious butterflies in my tummy!! How awesome is that building?! The view of the river?! They’ve done a beautiful job of making an industrial building feel warm and inviting. I’ll pack my bags now if they’ll let me stay!

  22. Jenny says:

    I want to visit here.

  23. Elaine says:

    Fabulous house, and very nicely photographed, too. It’s great to see some Dutch style transplanted to France.

  24. Hannah says:

    The suspended staircase is brilliant. I love the white stones underneath. I also think the yellow lampshades are amazing.

  25. Thank you so much for all the kind words!

  26. MuddHutt says:

    Can’t go wrong with a bit of bright yellow and I love the shelf of ‘red stuff’!

    Minimal but quirky… love it.

  27. K.D. says:

    Does anyone know the maker of those yellow and red pendant lights?

  28. @ Kayne: The yellow & red & white pendant lights were made by Ilka Plast in the seventies. Ours came directly from their factory in Germany as “new old stock”.
    You can try eBay to find some for sale.

  29. K.D. says:

    @ Judith: No wonder they are so brilliant! What a wonderful find for your wonderful home. Thank you for the response.

  30. Mary says:

    beautiful space. The stair case is the stand out for me – love it!

  31. Really cool red stairs! and the cornor for Waldo is a really cool idea!

  32. Marij en Ad says:

    Prachtig allemaal!!!
    We hadden er al veel over gehoord, maar hebben er ons nooit een goede voorstelling van kunnen maken.
    Groeten en houdoe.
    Marij en Ad

  33. angela says:

    Does anyone know where to find that cat shaped ceramic vessel in the living room shot? I love it. Beautiful home & amazing location!

  34. @ Angela It is a Whiskas cat bed. You can try eBay to find some for sale.

  35. cornelia grimes says:

    Wow!!! in Paris!!! How i wish i could do something like this !! they are very fortunate to have this….

  36. Fay says:

    Love the polka dot bed cover. Care to divulge the source?

  37. Nia Basset says:

    That magazine – well, her house – is the bomb.

  38. @ Fay The polka dot bed cover in our guestroom is from Ikea. It’s called Henny Cirkel and has some kind of structured dots.

  39. That is an amazing view from the living room. I could really get used to that!

  40. ABIGAIL says:

    I really like the first one with the yellow! It’s such a vibrant colour! Everything is such full of colour!

  41. Amanda says:

    your cats are adorable – they look just like one we had when I was growing up – her name was boots for her white “boots” (paws on her black coat). alas no cats now – my niece is terribly allergic. — also love the house to – wish `I had that bookshelve. :)


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